Lockyer Valley pilots rewarded for flood bravery

JOB WELL DONE: Helicopter pilots John (left) and Simon McDermott were awarded a group bravery citation for their work during the floods.
JOB WELL DONE: Helicopter pilots John (left) and Simon McDermott were awarded a group bravery citation for their work during the floods. Adam Carroll

THE most vivid memory helicopter pilot Simon McDermott has of the 2011 flood disaster in the Lockyer Valley, was witnessing a house floating down river and people's arms waving out one of the windows for help.

It is a memory that still haunts him today.

Mr McDermott, along with his son John McDermott, were one of the first helicopter crews dispatched to the Lockyer Valley and Grantham as events unfolded on January 10, 2011.

Flying side-by-side in separate helicopters, the father and son team were part of the initial Queensland Fire and Rescue Service response to the disaster.

The two men conducted rescue operations in appalling conditions, conducted reconnaissance flights and plotted the location of numerous people who required rescuing.

Together they conducted 47 rescues, including one rescue where 12 men, women and children were evacuated from a roof top at Grantham.

Their selfless efforts were recognised on September 24 when both men were awarded a group bravery citation by Queensland Governor Penelope Wensley at Government House in Brisbane.

After the ceremony, John McDermott took time out to reflect on the events of that tragic day almost three years ago.

"It was the most outrageous experience I have ever had," Mr McDermott said.

"It was just surreal.

"As we approached the area we did not know what we were in for.

"Then we saw the water. I will never forget the enormity of it," he said.

Mr McDermott said there were several images that had been burnt into his psyche from that day, but the image of a house floating down river sticks out.

Local winners

 Simon and John McDermott, pilots

 Bradley Mills and Andrew Neil, Queensland Fire and Rescue Service personnel

 Brendon Ashby and Ian Bland, firefighters

Topics:  awards lockyer valley lockyer valley floods

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Adriana shines to make Uni Games Green and Gold team

GREEN AND GOLD: Adriana Silcock made the Australian University Games team of the tournament.

Hockey player Adriana Silcock excels at Australian Uni Games.

Motoring show to rev up support for hospital

FAMILY FUN: Three of the sensational cars that will be on display at the Gatton Auxiliary Show and Shine.

Car, Ute and Bike Show and Shine is coming to town for a good cause.

Student wins half price fees

FUTURE VET: Brook Cridland, winner of the Country Challenge on Campus.

Year 11 runner wins $4500 university prize.

Local Partners

Qualipac snags best business award

Qualipac won the top prize at the 2016 Lockyer Valley Business, Training and Apprenticeship Awards.

Community garden set for Palmwoods

Kay Nixon at the Palmwoods Community Gardens will be hosting a launch day and inviting the ecommunity to come along and sign up.

Parcel of land to supply sustainable gardening for community

Barry Gibb is coming to Bluesfest 2017

FANS: Barry Gibb talks to a fan next to a cardboard cutout of his young self.

Aged 70, Gibb has re-launched his solo music career with a new album

Tim Finn headlining at Airlie Beach Music Festival

Music veteran Tim Finn from New Zealand will headline the Airlie Beach Music Festival.

Tim Finn: "It's the kind of festival that artists love"

Kristie doesn't mind being the third wheel in Survivor final

Kristie Bennett in a scene from Australian Survivor.

SOLO player will take on Survivor's power couple Lee and El tonight.

Scary hoping Posh and Sporty will re-join The Spice Girls

Mel B

Mel B hoping Victoria Beckham, Mel C will re-join The Spice Girls

REVIEW: Michael McIntyre has Brisbane in stitches

Michael McIntyre in a scene from his TV series Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow.

BRITISH comedian is in the country on his Happy and Glorious Tour.

Cliff Richard doesn't need Rod Stewart's help with legal bills

Sir Cliff Richard

"'Don't worry, I'm loaded. I won't keep you to it.' "

Bindi Irwin named in MAXIM HOT 100 list

Wildlife Warrior named among Australia's most beautiful women

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

How to fit 100,000 new homes on the Coast

Property, real estate, housing, suburb,  August 2016

Fitting 2m extra people in south-east Qld in 25 years a balance

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals